More could and should be done to protect businesses up and down the country against the potentially devastating effects of fire, Alex Cunningham has said.
The Labour MP, whose Stockton North constituency falls under the protection of Cleveland Fire Brigade – one of the highest fire risk areas in Europe – was speaking in support of National Fire Sprinkler Week, an initiative launched by Chief Fire Officers Association.
National Fire Sprinkler Week aims to actively promote the installation of sprinklers in industrial and commercial premises, and calls on the Government to review the current guidelines in order to bring fire safety in line with competitor economies.
“Research has shown that industrial fires are exceptionally costly. Warehouse fires alone are calculated to cause a direct financial loss to business of £230m per year, with losses in GDP of £190m. There is also a significant knock-on impact to other businesses, with as many as 1,000 direct and indirect jobs lost through business and supply chain disruption.
“What makes these incidents even more devastating is the knowledge that many could be avoided by taking relatively simple preventive measures – primarily the installation of sprinklers. Such devices are wholly cost beneficial, preventing large fires and safeguarding fire crew, workers and businesses.
“There needs to be better understanding of these benefits of installing fire sprinklers, and the additional protection that this extends to the economy and the environment.
“I urge all businesses across the Stockton Borough and the wider Cleveland Fire Brigade area to ensure that they have adequate safety measures in place to protect against the potential damage fires can bring. I fully support the aims of National Fire Sprinkler Week, and hope that the importance of taking steps to protect against fire – both commercially and domestically – is recognised beyond these seven days.”